“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”
In my latest dream, I wandered around from place to place.
The first place I went was to a fancy hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, where there were many pools of water. I was asleep, and a preacher I knew lovingly set me in the shallow end of a pool, carefully covering the deep end so that I wouldn’t wake up. Once I did awaken, however, I saw that some people were in pools that were almost entirely shaded from the sun. Others were in a pool fed by a glorious, towering waterfall, but when I drew near, I saw that the waterfall pool had been encased in glass, given artificial lighting, and had slowed to a mere trickle. There was an uninspiring choir singing on a stage in front of the waterfall, and a couple of people were watching. It was blah, so I left.
Then I went to a chapel. It was dark inside, and the church had their own bibles in a translation that doesn’t exist outside of my dream. The people were nice enough, but superficial. I told one lady that if “Christians loved as much as they feared, the world would be transformed.” Walking out, I made a new friend. We walked down the street, and I told her that I was glad to have her along because I wasn’t familiar with the city. We made our way to another friend’s house and ate lunch. Then I went exploring in the neighborhood.
I visited a run-down store in an alleyway where a swarthy snake-like man eyed me threateningly as he tried to conceal the dark magic happening in the back of the store. I was afraid, but the friend I had eaten lunch with was there watching out for me. I became even more afraid when I realized that he might judge me for my presence in such a sketchy place, and I went and hid. He came and found me, comforted me and didn’t judge me at all. We walked along together in companionable silence.
Then I went for a boat ride in an underground river. It turned out the river didn’t actually go anywhere but in a circle, like an amusement ride. At the end of the ride, the operator told me that I was worthy of a Koran, and handed me the book. I got out of the boat, and my friend was waiting for me once again.
I felt such angst over all my searching, but my friend simply looked at me with bemusement. I couldn’t believe how accepting he was. I tried to justify why I was exploring all these things, but he didn’t really seem care one way or the other. He was the kind of friend who is there for you no matter how much drama you create.
Thinking about the dream, it was pretty obvious what it was saying about religion. But I couldn’t figure out why I kept dreaming about this friend who kept popping up everywhere. Soon, however, I realized that the friend was Christ. I was running around like a lunatic in this dream, filled with such anxiety over finding the “right” belief, but all the time, Christ was there. (Rumi calls God “the friend,” and I read him a lot, so that helped me to figure it out!)
It was really cool to realize that God loves me no matter what direction I find myself wandering in, and that if I want, I can just hang out with Him, take off my shoes, and not wander — or wonder — at all.